Adventures In Exercise, Part 3: Testing Times For Safety Underpants

From me to you, with love: the Victorian Police Cadet skipping team.

This post was originally published in Practical Parenting Magazine, March 2014

Here we are, at the final episode of my Exercise series, where I’ve been recounting my attempts to keep fit and strong after having three babies. Looking back, I seem to have mostly written about accidental farting.  Sadly, I think that might be a little bit reflective of my life. Just be glad you’re not me, readers. Or, perhaps, married to me. Or, perhaps, sitting next to me in yoga class.

Today, I want to talk with you about my gym experiences. Do you understand the culture of the gym?  Do you really? I always feel like I don’t quite fit in. My bra is wrong, my hair is wrong, and I don’t own any of those encouraging singlets that shout Go for it! Live Your Best Life! Today is Fantastic! (Don’t depressed people ever go to the gym, I wonder? And if they do, don’t those t-shirts make them cry?)

I quite like the gym, despite its weirdness.  It’s good for people-watching. I’m committed: working hard on the bingo- wing machines, and listening to BBC4 podcasts on my phone while trotting on the treadmill (although I know that one day, I will fall off it, and I’m terrified in advance.)  Also, I like being surrounded by women of all shapes and sizes and ages, working hard and getting sweaty. It’s very motivating.

Mine is a women’s gym, so we don’t have any sweaty Schwarzenegger’s, but the women still seem pretty hardcore. I’m used to yoga studios, where the teacher puts a blankie on you at the end so you don’t get chilly while you meditate. There are no blankies at the gym. There are pregnant women and senior citizens hammering into each other with boxing gloves.

Recently, I had a one-on-one training session. I’m really bad at these. I crack awkward jokes and pretend I am less unfit than I am until it all falls apart and the sham is revealed. This time, my trainer put me on an exercise bike and told me that she wanted me to ride as hard as I could for thirty seconds, and then rest for ‘A week?’ I interrupted. Ha, ha!  ‘No, thirty seconds,’ she replied. Oh, how we (I) laughed. I gave it a go. How hard could it be? Ten seconds in, I was swearing like a Spanish sailor and bleeding from the eyeballs.

Over time, I am definitely getting fitter, and my back pain is getting better. Granted, you might not call me a  ‘professional’ athlete, per se,  but I’m proud to report that lately I have been getting to fifteen seconds of intense riding on the bike before crying and soiling my safety underpants. In overview: Pilates made me farty, yoga is wonderful (with blankies), but I need to sweat more, and right now, the gym is working for me. I think maybe the key is to mix it up, and just keep moving. Today I spotted a fabulous-looking Zumba class full of seniors dancing to Love Shack. I think I might take my Mum. Also, I’m keen to try Bikram Yoga (if only for the thrill of overusing the phrase ‘hot mess’.)

As for you, dear reader, whatever brand of exercise keeps you strong for the marathon of motherhood, I wish you all the best.


Adventures in Exercise, Part 1 (Anna’s Pelvic Floor Advice Is Terrifying)

Adventures In Exercise, Part 2 (Of Farts And Fan Fiction)